Connecticut's primary elections are coming up on Aug. 9 and some new rules will make it easier for voters who can't or don't want to go to the polls in person.
Berlin Town Clerk and President of the Connecticut Town Clerk's Association Kate Wall goes over the important deadlines ahead of the primary, especially for those who are voting absentee.
Mike Hydeck: "So as we know, starting with COVID, for the past couple of elections since then, voters have been able to use COVID as a valid reason to vote absentee. Is that now permanent?"
Kate Wall: "No, it's not really. The changes to the application for how to get an absentee ballot broaden the use of sickness, and it doesn't really include COVID. It is if you are fearful because of getting COVID, because you have an autoimmune disease, or, you know, some other illnesses that may make you very hesitant to go to the polls. It's really and truly, COVID is no longer technically an excuse. It is really actually the illness or sickness in yourself or the family."
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Mike Hydeck: "So if you had fought cancer and you're immune deficient because of chemo and things like that, that can be an excuse to get an absentee ballot?"
Kate Wall: "That's correct, that's correct. And it's not only you, if it was somebody in your household where you're taking care of them. And this is a change that has occurred with the application. And that is if your spouse is ill, you can't leave them, you can now get the application for the absentee ballot and also with disability.'
Mike Hydeck: "So what kind of turnout do you usually see during a primary? And do you think this will help more people participate?"
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Kate Wall: "I don't know. The issues with the primaries are usually if it's highly contested, which you know, as far as if this was a presidential preference primary, the turnout would probably be higher. We are not anticipating a huge turnout, there seems to be limited knowledge. So the primary, which is why this is great that you're doing this, we are appreciative that we can get the word out that the primaries are occurring, as you said August 9. It is posed to the Republican and the Democratic Parties, and that if you can't get to the polls, the absentee ballots are available."
Mike Hydeck: "So the deadline to get an absentee ballot in what? What can we tell people to put on their calendars?"
Kate Wall: "Sooner is better. They ballots became available on July 19. They will be available for anybody who comes into the office, who requests it through the mail, up until August 8th. But remember the turnaround time, and I'm so glad that you brought that up, is that it's usually about four or five days for the post office to be able to deliver the absentee ballot back to us. We also have the ballot boxes available in your town. Make sure you go to the right town. And we need the ballot back by eight o'clock on August 9th."